Matthew 21:33-46 seeing yourself the way Jesus sees you

Jesus is still in a conversation with the religious leaders who despite their theological and political differences have come together to try and Trap Jesus. Since Jesus has already turned their own tricks against them he now continues with another story to try and get them to see themselves for who they really are and not what they think they are.

Set the Scene:

Landowner = God

Vineyard = People of God (See Isaiah 5:1-7 and John 15:5)

Because of the Old Testament Passages, the religious leaders would have connected that the Vineyard was Israel and so as Jesus was talking they would have been connecting the dots. It took four years for the grapes to mature to harvestable grapes and the fifth year is when the vineyard began to make a profit.

Fence= Keep animals from destroying crops and thieves from stealing

It could be a fence of stone, a bunch of briars or even a hedge.

Winepress= where the grapes would be poured out

Tower= Watch for intruders, shelter for the workers and storage.

It was difficult for me not to see the Tower as a reflection of the church. Part of an Elder’s job is to watch for false teachers and anything else that will destroy the work that is being done. Church should be a place that people come and get relief from the hard work during the week as well as the supplies they need to carry out what God has called them to do.

Tenant Farmers=Israel and or Followers of Christ

The owner would set up the Vineyard and make sure everything was there for them to be successful and then would leave to go back to the city or wherever they lived.

Time of Harvest drew near= fruit inspection

It was not unusual for farmers to have to give half of what they produced to the owner.

Producing fruit was common in the book of Matthew and expected by God’s Children (Matthew 3:8,10; 7:16-20;12:33;21:19,41,43)

Right now we are in Harvest time and we need to be at work collecting what we can so when Jesus returns we will be ready.

Slaves= the prophets

The owner wanted to receive his share. This was not a cruel expectation by Him but a reasonable amount for Him providing the land, setting it up and paying for them for 5 years until it produced crops.

Beat One: Jeremiah in Jeremiah 20:2

Killed another :Uriah in Jeremiahs 26:21-23

Stoned a third: Zechariah in 2 Chronicles 24:21

So as Jesus was sharing this story the religious leaders, who were experts in the scriptures would have thought of individual people who were killed

Then He sent other slaves= the patience of God

Then it says the owner sent more slaves which could have been all the other prophets including John the Baptist. This is a story for Jesus to point out to them that they were the ones because in real life a squad of soldiers would have been sent to go and kill those who killed the slaves.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,[a] not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Have you ever wondered how much worse God is going to allow it to get? He is patient because He wants people to turn to Him.

Sent His Son= Jesus Christ

Although none of us would have done this in real life, Jesus is really prophesying about what is getting ready to take place. These guys thought that if they could kill the son then they would get to keep the land and all its fruit. This is not how things work yet as we discussed in previous post, peoples thinking become irrational when they are trying to justify their lifestyles.

This was cold and premeditated murder because they knew it was the Son and that did not change their decision at all. This is a direct statement to the religious leaders who knew deep down that Jesus was sent from God yet it did not keep them from killing Him.

The Jewish leaders were more concerned about keeping control of their Temple then they were about acknowledging that Jesus was the chosen Messiah.

Everyone has to do something with Jesus Christ.

Threw Him out= Jesus being rejected and crucified outside of Jerusalem (Hebrews 13:12)

John 19:16-1816 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, 17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.

They rejected the son’s mission and would not listen to Him even after they ignored the servants that came before Him. Jesus knew what was going to happen, He was not caught off guard and killed by them. Jesus came to earth willingly to die for us.

The question= How do you think God should respond to those who reject Him?

No one wants to talk about God judging those who reject Him but the Bible is clear that He will. The problem is that no one sees themselves as the ones who have killed the prophets or the son.

What would you do if you were God?

How would you treat those on earth?

How should God treat you?

God is patient right now but a day is coming when He will no longer wait and He will hold people accountable for the rejection of His Son.

He will destroy those evil people in an evil way.

This is what Nathan did to King David when he told a story about a wealthy person taking the one lamb away from someone and David burned with anger toward them. David thought the man should be punished severely for his sin and then Nathan turned it on him and said “You are that man”

The sins of others seem bigger than our own sins. See 2 Samuel 12:1-7

Give the Vineyard to other= the Church

We now have the responsibility to the landowner of producing fruit with the things He has given us.

Are you working in the vineyard?

I am not talking about church attendance but purposefully doing things with the gifts and abilities to help produce fruit? Fruit is meant to be produced in your life and in the lives of those around you.

Have you ever read in scriptures was a slap in their face

The stone= Jesus Christ

Builders= the leaders of Israel

Psalm 118:22-24 The stone that the builders rejected  has become the cornerstone.[b]
23 This is the Lord’s doing;  it is marvelous in our eyes.24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

See Also: Acts 4:11; Romans 9:33; 1 Peter 2:6-7

When people would begin a building they would have to pick out the right cornerstone in order to make sure the rest of the house was level. They would reject many stones till they found the right one to begin the project.

Some believed it to be the corner base of the building. Some believed it to be at the top holding two walls together. Some believe it to be the center piece that holds everything up in the middle of an archway. The reality is it does not matter but that Jesus is the bases of everything that is held together.

The Hebrew word for Son is ben and the Hebrew word for Stone is ‘eben. So the play on words would have been evident that the son they are rejecting is the stone that Psalm 118:22-23 was talking about. Israel was viewed as being the cornerstone and Jesus is now claiming Himself the cornerstone

Taken away and given to people who will produce fruit= Judgment

Matthew 25:24-30 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

God will remove the evil tenants and put in there people who will do His work. Just because you are in a church does not mean you are not an evil tenant.

Who falls on the stone will be broken but who the stone falls on will be crushed

Isaiah 8:14-15 And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15 And many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken.”

Sanctuary : A place of healing for those who accept Him

Stone of Offense to some: People that reject the claims of Christ or offended by Him.

Rock of Stumbling: People that cannot accept grace and try and reach God on their own works

You can either come to Jesus and be broken or reject Him and be crushed.

The idea of being crushed by the stone is the symbolism of the last days when the stone in Daniel 2 crushes the statue which is representative of the world being judged at the end of time.

Crushed means to be grinded up into small dust

Trap had the idea of a bird landing and being quickly caught up in a net

They knew He was speaking about them

Have you ever sat through a sermon and knew God was speaking to you but you did nothing about it?

In fact not only did they realize He was saying they were the ones to kill the son in the story they quickly tried to figure out a way to kill Him.

Basically they were saying,” So you are saying we are going to kill you? Then we are going to kill you for saying that.”

Acts 2:22-24 Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus,[d] delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

Jesus died for all of us as the perfect sacrifice. We are set free from the traps of sin and death because of what He did for us.

Who are you in this story?

1)      Are you a faithful servant bearing fruit? (John 15:1-10; Galatians 5:22-23)

2)      Are you the spiritual  who could not accept Jesus because you think your actions are enough?

3)      Have you been given responsibility over an area and now you think you own it?

You have to acknowledge where you are in the story in order to understand what the end holds for you. If you do not believe that you are a bad person needing saving then you will be crushed by the Holiness of God at the end of your life.

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